Sick in Antigua

As I left Lanquin I didn’t know I would wind up sick in Antigua for a couple of weeks.

Leaving Lanquin

Riding out of Lanquin I was thinking I should be staying longer. I really liked it here. Of course, the anxiety over making the 11 km trek over dirt roads back to pavement may have influenced that 🙂 The road was certainly doable, after all I did it to get to Lanquin. But at the same time it wasn’t easy in some parts. At least for me.

As I made my way I passed a lot motorcycle commuters on their 125 cc bikes. They zipped along no problem while I lumbered along on my fully loaded 1200 cc bike. I got to one portion that once was cobblestone or maybe just stones. In any case, now the stones were no longer flat but sticking up in all sorts of positions and angles. I was taking it slow. So slow that I stalled my bike. The uneven stones made it such that I couldn’t get stable footing as I put my feet down. Down the bike went.

Getting the bike back up wasn’t too much of a problem. One of the 125 cc bikers stopped to lend me a hand too.

Once up and running again there were no problems. Only magnificent views.

La Sin Ventura Hotel Antigua

Once pack on pavement it was a nice relaxing ride to the La Sin Ventura Hotel in Antigua. I had picked the hotel because it was below my accommodation budget, it had great reviews, and it was right in the center of town.

The room was very small and basic. But it was immaculately clean! There wasn’t even a speck of dust under the bed.

The only issue is that is is located right on top of the Monoloco nightclub which operates 5 nights a week. For the first night it didn’t bother me. I was tired. And as I went to sleep I had a sore throat and could feel the onset of a sinus infection.

Sinus Infection to Fluid in the Lungs

The next day I had full on sinus infection. I only planned on staying in Antigua for 2 nights before heading into El Salvador. That wasn’t going to happen now. I booked another 3 nights at the hotel.

As the days went on my sinus infection migrated into my lungs. This is a problem for me as I am susceptible to pneumonia. I upped my normal meds to combat it and went to the pharmacy to get some amoxicillin.

The 3 nights passed and I still had fluid in my lungs. I booked another 3 nights. Eventually it started to break. In all I spent 2 weeks in Antigua battling it. By the time I eventually left I still had some sinus infection but the fluid was gone from my lungs.

Antigua Routine

Antigua is not a bad place to be sick. It really does have most of the comforts of home. I didn’t have much motivation to do anything but I got into a nice relaxing routine.

At about 9 am I would wake up and head to the & Cafe for coffee. The & had a really nice lounging chair that looked onto the main plaza.


The & Cafe is just to the right in the picture. And my hotel is just a block down the street. Great location.

I would sit there for a few hours with a coffee and later a smoothie, watching people, looking at Facebook, doing research for a project and basically zoning out.

Once in a while though someone would sit next to me and we would strike up a conversation.

By the afternoon it was time for a rest back at the hotel. I would just lay down for a couple hours.

By 5 pm I was thinking about something to eat. My usual place was the Londoner.


The people were friendly, new my name ha ha, and the specials consisted of comfort food like Pork Chops with mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli and carrots.

One day while I was there this guy with long thick hair down to his shoulder blades, wearing shorts with work boots showed up. He had a deep voice and was loud and boisterous. He knew everyone at the Londoner! Right away I knew who he was.

It was like deja vu! I would see the same guy acting in the same way at the Starbucks I frequented in Cook Street Village in Victoria Canada! What were the odds?

I said to him, “You are a long way from the Cook Street Starbucks.” In his loud deep voice he said “NO WAY!” We talked for a bit and he introduced himself as James.

From that day onwards I would see him at the Londoner. And everyday he would tell people how I was from his home village in Victoria and how shocked he was to see me here in Antigua.

As it turned out, he spends part of the year in Antigua and the other part in Victoria.

Back to my routine …. In the evening I would go for a walk, pick up some snacks from the same girl each night and sometimes pick up a piece of pie to eat in my room.

My hotel room didn’t have WiFi so I would spend the evening watching episodes of Friends I had purchased before leaving for those times there wasn’t WiFi.

Eventually I fell asleep and started the routine again the next day.


I did manage to do some errands one morning. Like getting my bike washed and fill it with gas. I also spent a couple hours wandering around Antigua. That is about all the energy I had.


church 2


My Route on June 23, 2017


My Location from June 24 to July 9, 2017


Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua was one of those places I was really looking forward to as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UNESCO on Antigua

UNESCO describes Antigua as:

Built 1,530.17 m above sea level in an earthquake-prone region, Antigua Guatemala, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded in 1524 as Santiago de Guatemala. It was subsequently destroyed by fire caused by an uprising of the indigenous population, re-established in 1527 and entirely buried as a result of earthquakes and an avalanche in 1541. The third location, in the Valley of Panchoy or Pacán, was inaugurated in March 1543 and served for 230 years. It survived natural disasters of floods, volcanic eruptions and other serious tremors until 1773 when the Santa Marta earthquakes destroyed much of the town. At this point, authorities ordered the relocation of the capital to a safer location region, which became Guatemala City, the county’s modern capital. Some residents stayed behind in the original town, however, which became referred to as “La Antigua Guatemala”.

Antigua Guatemala was the cultural, economic, religious, political and educational centre for the entire region until the capital was moved. In the space of under three centuries the city acquired a number of superb monuments.

The pattern of straight lines established by the grid of north-south and east-west streets and inspired by the Italian Renaissance, is one of the best examples in Latin American town planning and all that remains of the 16th-century city. Most of the surviving civil, religious, and civic buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries and constitute magnificent examples of colonial architecture in the Americas. These buildings reflect a regional stylistic variation known as Barroco antigueño. Distinctive characteristics of this architectural style include the use of decorative stucco for interior and exterior ornamentation, main facades with a central window niche and often a deeply-carved tympanum, massive buildings, and low bell towers designed to withstand the region’s frequent earthquakes. Among the many significant historical buildings, the Palace of the Captains General, the Casa de la Moneda, the Cathedral, the Universidad de San Carlos, Las Capuchinas, La Merced, Santa Clara, among others, are worth noting.

The city lay mostly abandoned for almost a century until the mid-1800s when increased agricultural production, particularly coffee and grain, brought new investment to the region. The original urban core is small, measuring approximately 775 metres from north to south and 635 metres east to west, covering 49.57 hectares.

Central Park

The center of historic Antigua is Central Park. I spent a lot of time just sitting in the park watching people.



It was only 4 blocks from my hotel, Hotel San Jorge.


The first thing I noticed as I wandered around the park and adjacent streets was that there was a lot of English being spoken! The place was filled with tourists. And this was even the slow period for tourists.

The other thing I noticed was a lot of western food chains: Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s, Papa Johns, and Burger King. No Starbucks though 🙁 ha ha. However, all these were discreetly situated and displayed within the town. No gaudy signs.

Volcán de Agua

Where ever you walk in Antigua, the predominant feature is the volcano, Volcán de Agua.


Of course when I was there is was mostly covered by cloud.

Palacio de los Capitanes Generales

One of the two main structures bordering Central Park is Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. It serves as the headquarters of the Guatemala Institute of Tourism, the Antigua Tourism Association, National Police and the Sacatepquez Department government. Also …. during the afternoon rain the roof over the arches provides shelter for those in the park. And in the night the same roof provides shelter for the homeless.


Antigua Guatemala Cathedral

The other major structure bordering Central Park is the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral.




According to Wikipedia, the original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America. However, the devastating 1773 Guatemala earthquake seriously damaged much of the building, though the two towers at the front remained largely intact. These have undergone restoration work, and the cathedral has been partly rebuilt.

Santuario Arquidiocesano del Santo Hermano Pedro, Templo de San Francisco el Grande

I spent some time wandering to other parts of the town as well. Above the low buildings I could see various churches. So I went to see them. One of them was Santuario Arquidiocesano del Santo Hermano Pedro, Templo de San Francisco el Grande. It seemed to be a hub for church goers, weddings, school etc.





On my way to the Cathedral I spotted another church … not sure which one it was 🙁


My Time in Antigua


You know I really didn’t do much while I was in Antigua. Went for my coffee in the morning, sat in the park, walked around, and sat at the hotel. It was nice though.

Anyways, I decided to change things up a bit by riding out to Lake Atitlan to meet Brad, who I had met in Oaxaca, for a ride around the lake. That turned out to be a day I will never forget … for all the wrong reasons … I guess for some good reasons too … NEXT POST! 🙂

My Location from May 24 to 27, 2017


Great Views, Bad Roads and a Protest

Today ended up being a day of great views, bad roads and a protest!

Leaving the Hotel

My usual practice it to leave whenever I get up and get ready. No alarms 🙂 Alarms remind me of work and answering to the schedule of others.

Before I left the Hotel Tiosh Abaj I walked down to their waterfront to take some pictures.




Now it was time to ride around the other side of Lake Atitlán.

Great Views and Bad Roads

I was anticipating the roads to be much as they were yesterday – paved with topes and some potholes. Well, the first few kilometers were. Then it hit. The paved road turned into washed out dirt. Obviously it had rained hard and now the remnants of rivers ran down and across the road. I kept say to myself, “don’t drop it, don’t drop it.” I suppose I shouldn’t have been focusing on the negative. As the road went up hill and turned it just became worse.

Was I even on the right road? The map showed this as a major road. I was encouraged when I was a number of cars also taking the road. However, the cars were all over the road just like I was trying to find the right line. This made the blind corners dangerous. A few times I have to navigate to the very edge of the road as a car took a blind corner wide.

As I entered the towns along the way the road would become paved. Phew! In one town, I can’t remember the name, the main road was blocked for a market. I went around and my GPS was saying to go down an unpaved, narrow, potholed, dirt road in the town. Surely this couldn’t be the way to a major center like Antigua where I was heading. I stopped and asked someone and they said yes, that was the way to Antigua. I should have taken pictures of the roads. But I was took focused on getting through this.

I did get some pictures of the views I passed though 🙂






Eventually, I made it back to where I started to go around the Lake. This highway was a major highway and really nice. I could finally relax as I rode the last leg to Antigua. All of sudden I encountered a long line of trucks. Immediately I thought of my time just outside of Oaxaca, Mexico, when I ran into the same thing. That time it was teachers blocking the road in protest. I was hoping that wasn’t the case here.

I weaved my way around the trucks. Many of the drivers were sitting under their trailers eating. That wasn’t a good sign.

I was approached by two women who told me to turn around. I ignored them.

Finally I reached the front. Yup, it was a bunch of protesters blocking the highway.

protest 2

A couple of police officers approached me. One spoke a little English but left. I tried my best to converse with the other officer. He didn’t speak any English. I reached into my tank bag and gave him an Abbotsford Police shoulder flash that I had been carrying.

Others would saunter around my motorcycle looking at it. My bike is huge compared to what they ride.

I thought about just coasting around the protest kind of stealthily. There was room to do that. But I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the protesters or cause any unnecessary problems for myself. So I waited.

protest 3

The clouds/fog rolled in and I thought just maybe the protest would end. It didn’t.

At one point, on the other side of the protest, a group of motorcyclist riding what looked like to be Harleys, approached the protest. They revved their engines. Immediately, people came from around the protest to form a solid blockade against them. It was a stand off. The Harleys were rebuffed. They turned around and roared off.

All of a sudden there was commotion. People scattered. The protesters ran to waiting buses. The police blocked all the traffic. Cars started honking horns. The police officer who I gave the shoulder flash to waved me to the front. With the wave of the police officer’s hands it was like the start to an Indy 500 race. We were off! I raced out front.

It wasn’t long and I was in Antigua and safely resting in my hotel.

My Route for May 23, 2017


Translate »